Would State of Origin fix the ‘go home’ epidemic?

Geoff Koop Roar Pro

By Geoff Koop, Geoff Koop is a Roar Pro


22 Have your say

    Imagine this. It’s October 2007, the Melbourne Storm are only just discovering the might of their powers with Queensland quartet of Jeremy Smith, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Greg Inglis. They’ve just won the grand final convincingly over a Manly side that was simply overpowered.

    Now imagine that Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater turn around to Craig Bellamy and the Storm and say that they want to go home to Queensland . Billy wants to go home to Far North Queensland to be with his family and Cooper Cronk wants to go and be a part of the new Gold Coast Titans squad in his home state.

    One of the greatest trios in NRL history would have never been a thing at club level and the Storm may not have had the amount of success – or one of the biggest scandals – in the game.

    But by 2007 Billy Slater was already a crucial part of the Queensland State of Origin set-up and Cooper Cronk had been crowned the successor to Darren Lockyer as the legend’s career continued to be dwindled by injury.

    Three times a year these Queensland boys would assemble together. They would bond, they would heal and, most of all, they would become each other’s biggest fans and supporters.

    Fast forward to 2017, and once again the AFL is faced with a ridiculously crazy trade period. Jake Lever, Josh Schache, Bryce Gibbs, Charlie Cameron, Brendon Ah Chee, Adam Saad and Devon Smith are all going to be involved in trade talks to ‘return home’.

    This has become a trend in the AFL after the 2013 trade period gave us the phrase ‘The Go Home Five’ when the Brisbane Lions were cruelled by rising starts Elliot Yeo, Sam Docherty, Jared Polec, Billy Longer and Patrick Karnezis all deciding that home was a much better place than what was being built at the Gabbatoir.

    But what if State of Origin existed in the AFL?

    What if, instead of three haemorrhaged rounds in the middle of the year, the AFL held a State of Origin tournament?

    Vic Metro, Vic Country, South Australia and Western Australia make up one division, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales-ACT make up another. All eight sides play three games each in a round robin format, with the winners crowned from those three games.

    Suddenly for three weeks in the middle of the year you get to go home.

    It would stop the flood of players seeking trades back to their mates and family and it would stop the ridiculous scuttlebutt every offseason. It would all just stop.

    Maybe I’ve taken a far too simplistic view, but name me another sport where players so openly struggle being away from home.

    In my view it’s the lack of representative football in AFL that brings on this homesickness that makes teams outside of the big markets struggle to grow and maintain quality lists.

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    The Crowd Says (22)

    • October 10th 2017 @ 8:13am
      Rob said | October 10th 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      Players just need to toughen up and clubs need to allow players the freedom to travel home more often during the season.

      If you dont want to potentially leave your home state dont nominate for the draft in the first place!

    • Roar Guru

      October 10th 2017 @ 9:02am
      mastermind5991 said | October 10th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

      “It’s October 2007, the Melbourne Storm are only just discovering the might of their powers with Queensland quartet of Jeremy Smith, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Greg Inglis.”

      Did you mean “Cameron Smith”?

    • October 10th 2017 @ 9:54am
      Tony Tea said | October 10th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report


    • October 10th 2017 @ 10:11am
      Trevor said | October 10th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      Can you expand? Saying “In my view” with no evidence is hardly a compelling arguement.

      Players playing SOA would not get to go home. They would be playing football, possibly in a different state to their home. Requests to trade would not just stop. Hell, they might even increase (no evidence need be provided, but it is my view).

    • October 10th 2017 @ 10:49am
      Mattician6x6 said | October 10th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      Besides Judd and Gehrig wce only lose non wa who are surplus/fringe players. Go home factor won’t excist if you run a professional organization.

    • Roar Guru

      October 10th 2017 @ 10:53am
      Paul D said | October 10th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

      There will be issues with the game in the 2050’s and there’ll still be old soaks suggesting state of origin as a solution

      Ain’t never going to happen. State of Origin is a parasitical concept that ultimately hampers growth of the regular season, as the NRL is discovering.

      Remember too, AFL died of almost total indifference on part of the public. Supporters of AFL seem to forget this sometimes. I hardly think following a 17 year hibernation the appetite for it has improved.

      • October 10th 2017 @ 11:13am
        Mattician6x6 said | October 10th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

        Ppl do forget that, remember the travisity that was the Allies? Watched wa v allies in last state of origin @subi and maybe 20 thousand turned up was an underwhelming event to say the least.

        • Roar Guru

          October 10th 2017 @ 11:17am
          Paul D said | October 10th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

          Yep! Even the very very last game when everyone knew it was going to be the last game, only pulled 26,000 to the G in 1999

          Even North Melbourne would be disappointed by that crowd

      • Roar Guru

        October 10th 2017 @ 11:15am
        Paul D said | October 10th 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report

        And by AFL I meant SOO. More coffee required.